Hi. My name is Tanya and I’m an Inverted Y-Axis Legacy Gamer. It sounds like something one would need a support group and therapy for, doesn’t it? I wish there was a cure for it, a path to recovery even, but alas… I am doomed to my fate… forever moving in an unusual way through virtual worlds.
What exactly is an Inverted Y-Axis Legacy Gamer, you ask? Well, it refers to the configuration of the joystick layout on my console controller to play video games. Those of you who understand the layout are already cringing, trying to imagine yourself getting through a landscape in this fashion. But for those of you who don’t know this layout—I will endeavor to explain.
What the Legacy configuration does is that it keeps your forward and backward stick movements the same as Default and swaps the left and right movements. Where Default has your body movements all on your left stick and your camera (or look) movements all on your right stick, Legacy combines your movements and camera across both sticks. (See graphic #1 for Legacy layout controls) Even here, I had to invert X and Y on the camera to feel normal. I’m fairly ambidextrous in life and that is the only thing I can think of that makes this layout seem natural to me. Here’s how I came to find my configuration.
I was a fairly casual gamer up until the last few years. I always wanted to play more, to play the games my friends were raving about, but sometimes the controls felt so weird that all I managed to do was to turn in circles and shoot myself in the foot. Those games became really tedious really fast and I couldn’t make my brain fit into the default layout of most First Person view games. (See graphic #2 for Default layout controls) I tried—I tried A LOT. I would pick up a new game, excited to jump into the foray once again, hopeful that THIS time I would “Get It”… But it never worked and I finally decided I simply was not a First Person player. The character control always felt backward somehow. I began to choose games that could fit into my world. What this meant was that I needed a game that I could at least invert the X and Y camera controls so that they worked more like flight controls (pushing the joystick down makes you look up, up makes you look down, right looks left and so on). This limited my choices incredibly. I wouldn’t buy a game that I couldn’t research or ask someone who already owned it whether or not the inversion of both X and Y were available (Y is common… X is NOT). And so many people would say, “Just force yourself to play default. You’ll get used to it eventually!” Ummm… Yeah, No. This is like telling a left-handed person to just write with their right hand until they get used to it. It’s never going to feel natural, it’s always going to be a struggle.
About 2 years ago, my friend and fellow pod-caster Tom asked me to start playing the Beta of a new Bungie creation called Destiny. We had just recently become friends, and I was quite nervous that this would surely end as soon as it had begun by me trying to play online with him. I told him that I would be terrible. I told him that I would spin in circles and shoot myself in the foot. I told him that I had no First Person Shooter skills. I told him that I would get frustrated and quit very early on. I told him he would hear me use horrible expletives in the frustration of battle. He said that all of this was fine, he just wanted to play and have fun- no pressure to be great right out of the gate. Good thing our friend Tom is an EXTREMELY patient and forgiving man. And even laughs at the horrifying things that I say in rage mode…
Thus began my journey of finding my most comfortable gaming style for First Person. I quickly discovered that I could invert both X and Y on the camera (Left Stick) in Destiny and began playing this way. (See graphic #3 for this layout) It was OK, but somehow I still wasn’t hitting my groove. I figured it was just because I was learning and would get more skilled with practice. And we practiced all the time. Hours every day. We spent a lot of the time giggling over the fact that I was stuck in a corner, yet again. Then one day, I was alone and playing around with different controller layouts that are available on Destiny (and a heck of a lot of First Person games) and I tried out Legacy. (See graphic #3 for Legacy layout) Suddenly things started feeling somewhat normalized. The clouds parted, the angels wept, and I held aloft my controller to the gods.
Not really. But I might have cried—I ain’t gonna lie.
With much more time in game, I eventually became most comfortable playing Legacy with only Y (horizontal) camera inversion. And now I am also more confident in trying new games when I know I can play a Legacy configuration. Plus, it is REALLY hilarious to hand my controller to a friend next to me while I’m in one of these games and watch THEM spin in circles and shoot themselves in the feet. It’s a great way for my friends to immediately feel the pain I used to feel trying to “Just play Default until you get used to it.” Boom. Feel the feels. It SUCKS! It’s debilitating and they don’t want to do it for very long. Ahhhh…. The sweet bond of empathy!
I challenge you, fair reader, to go try this configuration for yourself. Shot yourself in the foot? Walked around looking directly at the sky while spinning in inexplicable circles? Fell off ledges whilst your teammates giggled heartily? Let me know in the comments! Happy Gaming, pals!